Saturday March 23, 2019

Forward with Education & Reason

Elections, Elected Officials and Political Parties
Wisconsin Election Observers Welcome, But Must Follow Rules PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 13:24

voteMADISON – There has been a lot of talk lately about the role of election observers. While some think poll monitors will root out corruption at the polls, others are concerned that the presence of aggressive observers could intimidate voters. In Wisconsin, election observers are an important part of the election landscape.

People who go to the polls expecting to stop illegal voting might not find the excitement they seek. A recent, extensive study found only 31 credible allegations of fraud out of more than a billion votes cast nationally between 2000 and 2014.

As for intimidation, Wisconsin fortunately has excellent procedures that welcome observers but do not allow them to disrupt voting. Polling places are covered under our open meetings laws. Anyone may observe, but there are rules in place to protect the voting process.

Election observers are nothing new. Candidate campaigns and political parties have long sent observers to the polls to note whether their supporters have voted so they can make targeted reminder calls by late afternoon. Advocacy groups send observers to ensure that polling places are accessible for people with disabilities.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 14:44
Ron Johnson’s Beltway Blunder: The “Ken Burns” Edition PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Harry Hartfield   
Saturday, 27 August 2016 11:57

ron-johnsonJohnson says teachers should be replaced by classroom movies.

MADISON - Senator Johnson had a rough week this week. He got schooled by students, teachers and even Ken Burns over his suggestion to replace qualified teachers with TV. The proposal came when Johnson was asked at a WisPolitics luncheon about his plan to make college more affordable. Without a serious plan, Johnson resorted to the same extreme and out of touch ideology to which he's always resorts. So what was his bold idea? Forget the teachers: sit kids in front of the TV for hours on end.

It only got worse from there. Educators panned his visions. One said, "it is somewhat akin to saying - 'we've already got WebMD, why do we need medical researchers?" Even Ken Burns weighed in saying he’s here “to support teachers, not replace them.” You can't make this stuff up.

Don’t believe us? You don't need to take our word for it. Here's just a few headlines (we don't have room for all of them):

“We already knew he disparaged federal student loans as 'free money,' but it turns out Senator Johnson's vision for education also includes supporting a presidential candidate who ran a phony university, legalizing discrimination against students with disabilities, and replacing teachers with videos. What will will he think of next? The sad truth behind the bad headlines is the fact that Senator Johnson's plan is to actually keep higher education financially out of reach for middle and working class kids.” said Harry Hartfield, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Teacher from Wittenberg Challenges Big Money, Politician in 2nd Senate District PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by GBP Staff   
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 15:48

john-powersVietnam Veteran, History Teacher John N. Powers from rural small town Wittenberg takes on career Wisconsin Senate fixture Rob Cowles in David v. Goliath race, and he wants to do it without accepting any donations.

GREEN BAY - In a scene that reminds one of David v. Goliath, John N. Powers of Wittenberg officially announced his candidacy for the Senate seat in Wisconsin’s 2nd District last week. John is seeking to unseat a political institution in the Senate, Republican Robert Cowles, and he wants to do it without accepting any donations from any source in his campaign.

Rob CowlesCowles has been in the Senate for 29 years, more than any other Republican. He has consistently won re-election by large margins or been unopposed. In the Senate, he is the chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee. You would hope that someone with that kind of seniority and position would be a voice for reason representing his district's residents first.

Powers says he will put his record of public service up against his opponent’s any day of the week. That record started at age 17 when he enlisted and served four years in the military, including a year of USAF Intelligence Operations in Vietnam (1967-68).

John earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UW-Stevens Point. He has lived in rural Wittenberg since 1974, teaching US history among other things for 31 years in Shawano County, Bowler and Wittenberg-Birnamwood schools. While teaching, he also found time to spend 15 years as a Boy Scout leader. For the past 10 years, he has worked at St. Clare's Hospital in Wausau as a unit coordinator in the emergency room.

“This will not be an ordinary campaign,” Powers says. “In this time of drastic cuts to our public schools, a state agency that gives hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to businesses that fail to create jobs, and a complete gutting of the authority of the DNR, Wisconsin cannot continue to allow our elected officials to be exempt from prosecution for political corruption while enforcing gag orders on state employees.”

Powers points to Cowles’ recent proposal on high capacity wells, Senate Bill 291. That proposal would remove all decision making from the DNR and turn it over to the legislature. So, if the local DNR is inspecting a problem well, it may not consider the impact caused by any other wells and instead must request approval from the Joint Committee on Finance in Madison .

This loss of local control doesn't make much sense to John. He also feels Wisconsin cannot continue to give away our tax dollars with no jobs being created in return. As a former teacher, he knows Wisconsin cannot give more of our tax dollars per student to private schools than to our public schools.

Feeling very strongly that our system of elections is broken, Powers will not accept any donations from any source in his campaign. “More than 70% of the people in this state feel that Citizens United should be repealed. Yet we continue to allow money to be the deciding factor in our elections, even at this level. I will not participate in an auction,” says Powers. “You will have to decide to vote for me, or not, based on my merit, not my money. If I succeed you will have made history. If not, we go back to the status quo.”


You can find out more about John Powers for State Senate on FaceBook or at

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